Tuesday, April 23, 2024
HomeTestHow Often Should You Get Tested For Breast Cancer

How Often Should You Get Tested For Breast Cancer

How To Make Breast Self


Make it routine. The more you examine your breasts, the more you will learn about them and the easier it will become for you to tell if something has changed. Try to get in the habit of doing a breast self-examination once a month to familiarize yourself with how your breasts normally look and feel. Examine yourself several days after your period ends, when your breasts are least likely to be swollen and tender. If you are no longer having periods, choose a day thats easy to remember, such as the first or last day of the month.

Get to know your breasts different neighborhoods. The upper, outer area near your armpit tends to have the most prominent lumps and bumps. The lower half of your breast can feel like a sandy or pebbly beach. The area under the nipple can feel like a collection of large grains. Another part might feel like a lumpy bowl of oatmeal.

Start a journal where you record the findings of your breast self-exams. This can be like a small map of your breasts, with notes about where you feel lumps or irregularities. Especially in the beginning, this may help you remember, from month to month, what is normal for your breasts. It is not unusual for lumps to appear at certain times of the month, but then disappear, as your body changes with the menstrual cycle .

Update Of Previous Uspstf Recommendation

This recommendation updates the 2009 USPSTF recommendation on breast cancer screening with an assessment of the most current available scientific evidence for mammography screening. In addition, this update also provides additional clarity on what is meant by the C recommendation for women aged 40 to 49 years. A C recommendation is not a recommendation against mammography screening in this age group it signifies moderate certainty of a net benefit for screening that is small in magnitude. A C recommendation emphasizes that the decision to screen should be an individual one, made after a woman weighs the potential benefit against the possible harms. This recommendation also notes that women aged 40 to 49 years with a first-degree relative with breast cancer may potentially benefit more than average-risk women in this age group from beginning screening mammography before age 50 years.

This recommendation examines the evidence of the effectiveness of an emerging technologyDBTas a primary screening strategy. It also evaluates the effectiveness of adjunctive screening using ultrasonography, MRI, DBT, or other methods in women identified to have dense breasts on an otherwise negative mammogram.

The scope of the evidence review supporting this recommendation statement was determined after public comment on the draft research plan.

Stay Away From Tobacco

There is no safe form of tobacco. If you smoke cigarettes or use other types of tobacco products, it’s best to stop. It’s also important to stay away from tobacco smoke . Both using tobacco products and being exposed to tobacco smoke can cause cancer as well as many other health problems. If you don’t use tobacco products, you can help others by encouraging the people around you to quit. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 for help, or see How to Quit Smoking or Smokeless Tobacco to learn more about quitting.

Read Also: What Blood Test Can Detect Breast Cancer

The Thresholds For Requesting Follow

It can be a challenge for radiologists to find a reasonable cutoff point in deciding whether a 6 month follow-up diagnostic mammogram is necessary. Secondly specialists must decide whether a biopsy is more appropriate, or not.

Generally speaking, if the first screening mammography results are highly suggestive of malignancy, then a core-needle biopsy should probably be the next step.

When the initial mammogram reveals an abnormality that is probably benign, then additional imaging is generally useful to help to decide whether to biopsy or not.

Specifically, the radiologist will want to determine whether the lesion is a solid mass or a cyst. In addition, the radiologist will also want to take a closer look at the margins. If all indications of the second imaging studies are for a benign or likely benign lesion, then subsequent follow up imaging studies in about 6 months is probably a reasonable approach, without the necessity of a biopsy.

Personal Stories About When To Start Having Mammograms

Mammogram Screening for Breast Cancer

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

No one in my family has ever had breast cancer. So I’m not at high risk for getting it. I talked with my doctor about this, and I read all of the information I could. My doctor says it’s my decision, but she is here to answer any questions and talk it over. I’m worried about false positives. I have a friend who has had two biopsies, and many sleepless nights, and it turned out to be nothing. I’m having a tough time deciding. I think for me the best decision is no decision. I’ll keep reading and thinking about it. I’m okay with this.

Keiko, 41

I’m not really worried about getting breast cancer, so I’ve decided to wait until I’m 50 to start having mammograms. I just turned 40, and I’ve always been healthy and active. Plus, I don’t have any extra risk factors. In the meantime, I’m going to mention any changes I notice in my breasts to my doctor.

Helen, 40

My friend was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer after finding a lump in her breast when she was 48. She didn’t have any risk factors for the disease, so she hadn’t had any mammograms before then. I can’t help but think that maybe if she’d had a mammogram a year or two before, the cancer may have been found earlier. I’m not at high risk for breast cancer either, but I’m going to keep having my yearly mammogram just to be sure nothing is wrong.

Sally, 46

Bella, 44

Read Also: Is Stage 3 Breast Cancer Curable

What Are Brca1 And Brca2

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that produce proteins that help repair damaged DNA. Everyone has two copies of each of these genesone copy inherited from each parent. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are sometimes called tumor suppressor genes because when they have certain changes, called harmful variants , cancer can develop.

People who inherit harmful variants in one of these genes have increased risks of several cancersmost notably breast and ovarian cancer, but also several additional types of cancer. People who have inherited a harmful variant in BRCA1 and BRCA2 also tend to develop cancer at younger ages than people who do not have such a variant.

A harmful variant in BRCA1 or BRCA2 can be inherited from either parent. Each child of a parent who carries any mutation in one of these genes has a 50% chance of inheriting the mutation. Inherited mutationsalso called germline mutations or variantsare present from birth in all cells in the body.

Even if someone has inherited a harmful variant in BRCA1 or BRCA2 from one parent, they would have inherited a normal copy of that gene from the other parent . But the normal copy can be lost or change in some cells in the body during that persons lifetime. Such a change is called a somatic alteration. Cells that dont have any functioning BRCA1 or BRCA2 proteins can grow out of control and become cancer.

Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer

Diagnosis is the process of finding out the cause of a health problem. Diagnosing breast cancer usually begins when you find a lump in your breast or a screening mammography suggests a problem with the breast. Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms you have and do a physical exam. Based on this information, your doctor may refer you to a specialist or order tests to check for breast cancer or other health problems.

The process of diagnosis may seem long and frustrating. Its normal to worry, but try to remember that other health conditions can cause similar symptoms as breast cancer. Its important for the healthcare team to rule out other reasons for a health problem before making a diagnosis of breast cancer.

The following tests are usually used to rule out or diagnose breast cancer. Many of the same tests used to diagnose cancer are used to find out the stage . Your doctor may also order other tests to check your general health and to help plan your treatment.

Also Check: Can Asbestos Cause Breast Cancer

Read Also: Can Getting Hit In Your Breast Cause Cancer

How Does The Technology Work

Standard mammogram technology uses 2D screening. While this was instrumental in early detection, it also resulted in a high number of false positives. Digital 3D screening is more advanced and greatly reduces false-positive results.

The procedures are very similar, but 3D screening, which The Womans Clinic uses, provides a comprehensive view of the breast. This technology allows for more effective detection of abnormal tissue growth.

Harms Of Early Detection And Treatment

Breast Cancer Awareness | Routine Mammogram test | Women 35 should get tested

Primary Screening With Conventional Mammography

Screening mammography has several potential harms. The most common is a false-positive result, which can lead to psychological harms, as well as additional testing and invasive follow-up procedures. Studies show a fairly consistent association between a false-positive screening mammogram and increased breast cancerspecific distress, anxiety, and apprehension, particularly in women who have an associated procedure, such as fine-needle aspiration or breast biopsy. These effects improve over time for most women.2, 4Table 5summarizes BCSC data on the cumulative probability of a woman receiving at least 1 false-positive mammogram or a recommendation for what turns out to be a false-positive biopsy over a 10-year period.39

Primary Screening With DBT

Currently, DBT is most frequently performed in combination with conventional digital mammography this practice essentially doubles the resulting radiation exposure to the patient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a method to generate synthetic reconstructions of 2-dimensional images from 3-dimensional views, which reduces the total radiation dose emitted. However, study data on the performance of DBT in isolation is limited to 1 mammography reading study that compared sensitivity and specificity and 1 prospective clinical trial,42 and the method is not yet thought to be in widespread clinical use.

Adjunctive Screening in Women With Dense Breasts

Recommended Reading: Is Breast Cancer Curable At Stage 3

How To Do A Breast Self

Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.

Here’s what you should look for:

  • Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
  • Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling

If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:

  • Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
  • A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple
  • Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling
Breast Self-Exam Step 1
Larger Version

Insurance Coverage Of Breast Mri Screening

Insurance coverage for breast MRI screening varies. You may want to check with your insurance company before getting a breast MRI for screening to see if its covered.


  • If you or a loved one needs more information about breast health or breast cancer, call the Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN . All calls are answered by a trained specialist or oncology social worker in English and Spanish, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET. You can also email the helpline at .
  • We offer an online support community through our closed Facebook Group Komen Breast Cancer group. The Facebook group provides a place where those with a connection to breast cancer can discuss each others experiences and build strong relationships to provide support to each other. Visit Facebook and search for Komen Breast Cancer group to request to join the closed group.

Also Check: What Stage Is Metastatic Breast Cancer

When To Start Screening

We recommend mammogram screening to start no earlier than age 40 and no later than age 50 for women of average risk for breast cancer, and continue through to at least age 74, says Dr. Andrejeva-Wright. Screening mammography should occur at least once every two years. For women whose screening mammograms show they have dense breasts, an extra testa breast ultrasoundis recommended.

Dr. Andrejeva-Wright says it is important to talk with a health care provider about when you should start getting mammograms, based on your unique health profile, and to make an appointment to see your doctor if you notice any unusual breast changes.

Any time a woman feels a breast mass, which does not go away, while doing a breast self-exam at any age, she should get it checked out, says Dr. Silber.

More than half of the time, women detect breast cancers themselves when they notice an unusual breast change. Whenever there is a new mass or lump, tell your doctorit should be evaluated by a clinical physical examination followed by breast imaging, says Dr. Andrejeva-Wright. Other signs to be aware of include asymmetry of the breasts and nipple changes such as discharge or peeling skin around the nipple.

Says Dr. Andrejeva-Wright, These symptoms dont mean you have breast cancer, but its a reason to seek an opinion from a medical provider.

Where To Get Screened

Breast cancer screening: When is it offered by the NHS ...

Women ages 50 to 74 can call the nearest Ontario Breast Screening Program location to make an appointment .

Women in the North West and Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant regions may be eligible for screening in one of our mobile screening coaches.

If you think you may be at high risk for breast cancer, talk to your doctor about a referral to the High Risk Ontario Breast Screening Program based on family or medical history.

Don’t Miss: Symptoms Of Breast Cancer Mayo Clinic

How Often Should You Screen For Breast Cancer

The two biggest risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and getting older. Around 99% of breast cancers occur in women, and the median age for breast cancer diagnosis between 2010 and 2014 was 62 years. While its rare for young women to develop breast cancer it is important that all women know when and how often to screen for breast cancer.

Getting a risk assessment to learn your personal risk for breast cancer allows you and your healthcare provider to develop a screening plan to stay ahead of the disease.

On The Kindest Thing That Someone Did For Them While They Were In Treatment:

Having my friends put their lives and work on hold to take me to my appointments.

Anna Pastrano

Having my sister take me to chemo and another sister-friend drive me home took the burden of traveling to and from treatments off of me. Chemo left me fatigued at the end of the day. Knowing I had a designated driver for the trip home allowed me to relax.

Michelle Robinson

There are too many to count. A few examples include GoFundMe, organizing Christmas gifts for me and my kids, organizing a meal train, helping with childcare while I was at appointments, transporting my kids to school and activities, virtual retreats, family trips, prayers, and numerous letters and messages of support.

Ebony-Joy Igbinoba

I love cards, so receiving cards of encouragement meant a lot. I also had friends who would occasionally drop off a dinner for me. Receiving phone calls also got me through I had a number of senior citizen friends who were constantly calling to check on me. There is also a blanket that two of my nieces sent me things like that were so comforting. Even small thoughtful actions like sending a fruit arrangement meant so much to me.

Michelle Robinson

Norma Marquez

Read Also: What Is De Novo Metastatic Breast Cancer

When To Get Screened

Breast cancer was expected to be the most common cancer diagnosed in Ontario women in 2018. Screening mammography can find breast cancers when they are small, less likely to have spread and more likely to be treated successfully. Your age and family medical history help determine when you should get screened:

  • If you are age 50 to 74, the Ontario Breast Screening Program recommends that most women in your age group be screened every 2 years with mammography. Find your nearest OBSP site by calling 1-800-668-9304 or visiting Ontario Breast Screening Program locations.
  • If you are age 30 to 69 and meet any of the following requirements, talk to your doctor about referral to the High Risk Ontario Breast Screening Program:
  • You are known to have a gene mutation that increases your risk for breast cancer
  • You are a first-degree relative of someone who has a gene mutation that increases their risk for breast cancer
  • You have a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • You have had radiation therapy to the chest to treat another cancer or condition before age 30 and at least 8 years ago

For every 200 women screened in the Ontario Breast Screening Program, about 18 are referred for further tests and 1 will have breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations

When Should Genetic Testing For Breast Cancer Be Considered?

The United States Preventive Services Task Forceexternal icon is an organization made up of doctors and disease experts who look at research on the best way to prevent diseases and make recommendations on how doctors can help patients avoid diseases or find them early.

The USPSTFexternal icon recommends that women who are 50 to 74 years old and are at average risk for breast cancer get a mammogram every two years. Women who are 40 to 49 years old should talk to their doctor or other health care professional about when to start and how often to get a mammogram. Women should weigh the benefits and risks of screening tests when deciding whether to begin getting mammograms before age 50.

Don’t Miss: Breast Cancer Weight Gain Before Diagnosis


Popular Articles